Inslee vetoes show troubling lack of accountability

May 18, 2023

Senate Republican leader disappointed with snub of special education


OLYMPIA…Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed 20 provisos in the 2023-25 operating budget this week, including some that would have improved government accountability. Senate Republican Leader John Braun released comments in response to the governor vetoing the following items:

  • Requirement for the Department of Social and Human Services to notify residents when placing sexually violent predators released from McNeil Island into their communities
  • Special Education Performance Audit, which was designed to look, at least in part, at how districts were accounting for and spending special education funding
  • Performance measurement requirements for the Washington State Health Care Authority and its provision of Medicaid
  • Housing Supply and Affordability Task Force, which had been a Senate Republican priority
  • Savings to be realized through reform in state leasing costs and office space usage

“It’s very disappointing that the governor vetoed provisions that would have addressed accountability and transparency in state government. Unfortunately, it’s consistent with the long history of mismanagement that is the hallmark of his term as governor. Job one should be providing responsible expectations and guidance to his agencies.

“Eliminating a requirement for DSHS to notify people when dangerous sex predators are released into their communities is irresponsible. People should not be kept in the dark about convicted violent rapists and child molesters moving into their neighborhood. They deserve to know if some of the worst criminals in our society are moving in next door.

“The governor has talked a lot about trusting data these last few years. So how is it that he eliminated a performance audit that would have gathered data about the current state of special education funding? The findings would have helped the state spend millions in new funding where it’s needed most. Special education services have been chronically underfunded and the best way to ensure the needs of these children are met is to find out how we are failing them now. The governor should want the transparency this audit would have provided. He should also want the state to be held accountable for how it has shortchanged children who need extra support. Similarly, his veto of the proviso to define performance expectations for the Health Care Authority’s provision of Medicaid is irresponsible.

“Inslee’s veto of a Republican priority – a task force that would have worked on increasing the supply of housing people can afford – is further evidence that the governor puts politics over people. He eliminated another entity that would have had oversight of the state’s actions and could have advised on the best way to spend money for affordable housing. It’s a huge missed opportunity.”